The Silver Balloon

Overview

Having a pen pal is exciting

One September evening, Gregory ties an index card with his name and address on it to the string of a silver helium balloon and lets it go from his window, into the city sky. Three weeks later, an envelope arrives in the mail. A farmer named Pete has found his balloon! Gregory writes back, and the two become pen pals, exchanging mystery gifts with each letter. Finally, Pete sends a gift that Gregory can identify only by a trip to the antural history ...

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Overview

Having a pen pal is exciting

One September evening, Gregory ties an index card with his name and address on it to the string of a silver helium balloon and lets it go from his window, into the city sky. Three weeks later, an envelope arrives in the mail. A farmer named Pete has found his balloon! Gregory writes back, and the two become pen pals, exchanging mystery gifts with each letter. Finally, Pete sends a gift that Gregory can identify only by a trip to the antural history museum, and the object turns out to be something truly amazing. With illustrations by the author, The Silver Balloon is perfect for early chapter-book readers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A wonderful intergenerational story. Gregory, a shy fourth grader who lives in the city, initiates a pen-pal friendship when he sends off a message attached to a balloon...A solid choice." —School Library Journal

"Young Gregory decides on a whim to release a helium balloonwith is name and address attached...The result is a great pen pal relationship that develops between Greg and the farmer Pete Mayfield [who] send a seried of mystery gifts to each other...This book will appeal to young readers on many levels - the mysteries fot he gifts, the development of the friendship, and the way that Greg sticks to his dreams till they come true." - Booklist

"Bonners surreptitiously promote[s] letter writing, personal research, and the value of the publis library [and] she does it with an economy of words and a fast-paced, credible plot while her black-and-white drawings flesh out the text." - The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This amiable tale suggests an intriguing alternative to sending a message in a bottle. When shy Gregory ties a note to a silver helium balloon and releases it from his city apartment window, he hopes someone will find it and reply. Fortunately for Gregory, a kindly farmer finds the balloon in his wheat field. Not only does he respond with a letter, but he encloses a mystery gift (a tip of wheat grass), which sends Gregory scurrying to the library to identify it. Gregory then sends the farmer a mystery gift from the city (a subway token). The new pen pals continue their correspondence until the farmer's final mystery gift brings them together and makes a celebrity of the reticent boy. Bonner's (The Wooden Doll) even pacing builds to a satisfying climax involving a science museum, a paleontologist and a roomful of children; and her gentle pencil sketches add warmth to the scenes. Young readers will enjoy Gregory's triumph over his shyness, and adults will appreciate Gregory's model of an inquisitive mind. Ages 7-9. (Sept.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A note tied to a helium balloon leads to an unusual long-distance friendship. "This amiable tale, which suggests an intriguing alternative to sending a message in a bottle, builds to a satisfying climax," said PW. Ages 7-9. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
"One evening in early September," young Gregory imagines himself flying through the air. Then on impulse he ties an index card with his name and address on it to the string of his precious silver helium balloon, and lets it go out the window in his place. This promising beginning launches a friendship that ends up being an educational experience for Gregory. If it were more evenly written, this would be a delightful little book. It still makes for a pleasant read, though the author's adult voice intervenes in places where Gregory might be best left to show us what happens to him and his balloon. Black and white illustrations set a soft, friendly sort of tone.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4A wonderful intergenerational story. Gregory, a shy fourth grader who lives in the city, initiates a pen-pal friendship when he sends off a message attached to a balloon. Clarence "Pete" Mayfield, a farmer, finds the balloon and responds with a letter and an unidentified gift. Gregory figures out what it is and writes a letter back to Pete, including a gift of his owna bus token. As the correspondence continues, Gregory learns to overcome his fears and frustrations about communicating. He discovers that he has the ability to write, to talk on the phone, and even to take a trip across the city to ask a university professor about the final gift he receives, a canine from a saber-toothed cat. Readers are drawn into the story as they wonder about each mysterious item. Black-and-white pencil sketches appear throughout. An author's note states that helium-filled balloons are harmful to wildlife. Marjorie Kaplan's The Fifteenth Peanut Butter Sandwich (Four Winds, 1990; o.p.) is a similar book for this age group with females as the main characters. A solid choice for fiction collections.Linda L. Plevak, Alamo Area Library System, San Antonio, TX
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374466473
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 802,247
  • Age range: 7 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 630L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.42 (w) x 7.71 (h) x 0.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Bonners is the author and illustrator of many fiction and nonfiction picture books for children, including The Wooden Doll, Just in Passing, and A Penguin Year. She lives in Roslindale, Massachusetts.

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Table of Contents

Sail Away 3
An Unsolved Mystery 12
Searching 20
Hand Cancel 30
Roughing It 37
No Reply 43
A Telephone Call 49
Back in Time 55
The Silver Balloon 64
Author's Note 71
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